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Friday, 9 December 2016

Safety in Power Plants, Stations and Electrical Networks: A Collective responsibility?

Indian electrical power system consists of many generating stations, sub-stations, and transmission & distribution lines of voltage range 1200/ 765/ 400/ 220/ 132/ 66/ 33/ 11 kV. All the associated equipments of power system are monitored, attended, operated and maintained round the clock for un-interrupted and reliable flow of electricity throughout the country. New construction or capacity addition activities are also carried out simultaneously. Most of the operation and maintenance activities are done by regular engineers and technicians of the concerned organization, whereas bulk of the construction works is carried out through outsourcing.

The electrical and electronic equipments and systems used in any power system network are designed in such a way that they are safe during normal operation, but in case of mal-operation or faults they can be very dangerous.
This article is supposed to throw some light on safety aspects, and to grab the attention of our young engineers and technicians.

What is safety?

What the word safety means as far as electrical power stations and networks are concerned?

“Safety may be interpreted as proper planning of task, proper usage of safety tools and equipments, following safety procedures, exercising good judgement and intelligent supervision.”

Fig 1: A combination of unsafe working conditions,and unsafe activities.

 Analysis show that majority of accidents were preventable.

Safety: A Collective responsibility

With a massive growth and expansion of generating stations, substations, lines and associated systems, safety at work place is of prime importance. Accident do not “just happen”, but they are the outcome of unsafe working conditions, unsafe activities or a combination of both. 

Then who is responsible for the “safe working environment” in electrical plants and networks?

It is our, i.e. of electrical engineers, technicians, and contractors, collective responsibility to implement safety standards and maintain a safe working environment in the best possible way.
We must learn from past mistakes, evolve gradually and move towards an accident free atmosphere. The presently followed safety standards should be enhanced to minimize, if not possible to eliminate, accidents and injuries.

Rules, Act and Code to be followed:

One should follow the safety policy, statutory provisions pertaining to safety, responsibility assignment, hazard identification, and personnel protective equipments and tools.

All the electrical engineers/ technicians working on electrical power projects in India, must ensure compliance with the requirements of Indian Electricity (I.E.) Rule 1956, Indian Electricity Act 2003, Indian Electricity Grid Code and Central Electricity Authority (C.E.A.) Regulation 2010.

Role of Electrical Engineers:

As an electrical engineer it must be our policy to perform each task in the safest possible manner, together with good practice. The health, safety and well-being of our workers and all those who are likely to be affected, are our responsibility. Safety aspect should be kept at par with our business objectives. Not only the engineers, it is the duty of each worker engaged in power system construction, operation and maintenance activities to exercise due care and caution for his/ her own safety, of fellow workers, and the concerned equipment and system.

As an engineer, we must:
Ø  Provide safety information, instruction and training to the team,
Ø  Ensure that tasks are allocated to competent workers,
Ø  Ensure safe and proper handling and use of equipments,
Ø  Provide and maintain a safe plant and Equipment, and
Ø Consult with our fellow engineers, sub-ordinates, and technicians on matters affecting the safety.


Prevention of accidents or mis-happenings requires a whole hearted co-operation of all the concerned. Usually it’s the capable and mentally alert worker who avoids the accident. Good luck.